The European Court of Justice has ruled, in Case C-288/16, that an exemption for services “directly connected” with exportation or importation of goods applies only if those services are supplied directly to the importer/exporter or to the consignee of the goods. The holding turned on the definition of the phrase “direct connection” within Article 146(1)(e) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC (“the VAT Directive”). In Case C-288/16, services were supplied by an intermediary who exported the goods in question on behalf of the supplier, but whose services were not supplied directly to the consignee or to the exporter of those goods. Thus, the Court held that the services supplied by the intermediary were not “directly connected” with an export, and did not fall within the scope of the exemption provided in Article 146(1)(e) of the VAT Directive.
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